U.S Senators demand tools to end corruption in South Sudan

Hentet fra Sudan Tribune (ingen journalist kreditert)

In a letter to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker and Senator Chris Coons detail steps required to take on South Sudan to “cut off the free flow of resources to the political and military elites, their families and associates.”

The U.S played a key role in events that led to the independence of South Sudan from Khartoum after more than two decades of civil war.

“Despite initial optimism about the future of the world’s newest country, the people of South Sudan have spent the past three years entangled in a brutal conflict, which has spiraled out of control, with more than two million people internally displaced and almost two million forced from the country,” partly reads the Senators’ letter.

It adds, “The political and military leaders have hijacked and repurposed state institutions to enrich themselves and fuel violence”.

According to the U.S lawmakers, the international diplomatic response to South Sudan’s conflict has failed and donors have focused on the urgent necessity of providing humanitarian relief to which the U.S has contributed almost $3 billion since December 2013.

South Sudan is suffering from a devastating war. Six million South Sudanese, half the country’s population said to be severely food insecure, and almost 2 million are on the brink of man-made famine.

“The United States must simultaneously address the structural problems that enable kleptocracy, incentivize violence, and prevent peace,” says the letter addressed to the U.S Treasury, amidst calls for a more transparent as well as responsible government in the future.

This, it adds, includes regional responsibility for impunity and the negative fiscal and human impact it has on stability and development in the region.

Calls were also made, in the 1 August letter, for the U.S Treasury Secretary to investigate corruption, impose network-focused sanctions, identify hidden assets, collaborate with international anti-money laundering standard setting bodies, and work with regional partners such as Uganda and Kenya to ensure that the plundered resources that belong to the people of South Sudan do not flow through their banking system as well as the real estate markets.

Meanwhile, Enough Project applauded the U.S Senators for their focus on the use of financial tools to address the nexus of conflict and corruption in South Sudan, and for their leadership and commitment to a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the country.

“The Treasury Department has a vital role to play in addressing the conflict and massive human suffering in South Sudan. Senators Corker and Coons should be commended for their unwavering commitment to peace and their willingness to work together to find solution,” Ian Schwab, the Director of Advocacy and Impact Strategy at the Enough Project said in a statement issued Monday.

“Leading voices in both parties and in both the House and Senate have called for Secretary Mnuchin to focus more attention and resources on South Sudan. He should heed this call without delay.”

In conjunction with diplomatic efforts, the U.S Treasury was urged to focus on deploying financial tools that target the financial networks of those obstructing peace and dispersing the proceeds of corruption through the region and even via the U.S financial systems.

“Those fighting in South Sudan will not agree to a sustainable peace until the international community develops more robust leverage and deploys stronger pressure,” further stressed the Senator’s letter.

In a separate statement, however, Brian Adeba, an associate director of policy at the Enough Project, said Senators Corker and Coons have tirelessly advocated for strong action on South Sudan.

“This letter sends exactly the right message by making it very clear that the United States will not continue to allow South Sudan’s leaders to rob their country while millions face hunger, displacement, and violence. Strong diplomacy combined with the robust use of the financial tools outlined in this letter offer the best chance for a peaceful resolution in South Sudan,” he said.

The South Sudanese civil war is a conflict in between forces of the government and the armed opposition forces. In December 2013, President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of attempting a coup d’état. Since then, tens of thousands of people have been killed and nearly two million displaced in the country’s worst-ever violence after it seceded from Sudan.